Area A (c. 55 sq m; Fig. 3) yielded meager remains of two walls (W3, W6) that form a corner of a room in a building. Both walls were built of undressed, small and medium-sized kurkar stones. A limited excavation in the corner (L7) created by the walls, which extended down below their bases, revealed that no floor was preserved. To the south of the two walls, extremely limited remains of a mosaic floor and its bedding were preserved: a few white tesserae and potsherds in secondary use.
The finds from beside the walls and above the mosaic floor consisted mainly of pottery from the late Byzantine and Early Islamic periods: a bowl (Fig. 4:1), casseroles (Fig. 4:2, 3), Gaza Ware jars (Fig. 4:4, 5), bag-shaped jars (Fig. 4:7–9) and a few Late Roman and Byzantine glass fragments (not drawn).
Area B (30 sq m; Figs. 5, 6). The northeast end of a building was unearthed. Its remains consisted of three wall foundations (W201, W202, W206) built of small and medium-sized kurkar stones. The excavation down to the base of the walls inside the building (L208) yielded several pottery vessels, including a Gaza Ware jar (Fig. 4:6), dating the building’s final occupation to the end of the Byzantine period (sixth–seventh centuries CE). While cleaning the area after its initial clearance and prior to the excavation, a worn fragment of a green-glazed Abbasid-period bowl was retrieved (not drawn). Soil accumulations above and to the side of W201 yielded two coins, one from 351–361 CE (L203; IAA 152981) and the other from 402–408 CE (L207; IAA 152982). The find spot of the coins, near the wall foundation, may indicate when the building was erected, probably not before the fourth century CE.
Area C (c. 260 sq m) yielded a winepress and a structure (Figs. 7, 8) from the late Hellenistic, which were evidently abandoned in the late Hellenistic or Early Roman periods. The winepress (4.5 × 6.5 m) consisted of a treading floor (L318), a settling pit (L321) and a collecting vat (L320). The treading floor, pit and vat, as well as the walls of the winepress were all coated with a thick layer of white plaster that contained numerous shells. A gutter in the wall in the treading floor’s west corner (W314) conveyed the must into the settling pit. In the east part of a wall (W305), bordering the southwest side of the settling pit, was a well-plastered trapezoidal niche. A trapezoidal channel in the settling pit’s northeast wall (W319) carried the wine into the collecting vat. A large conical pit (L306; max. diam. 1.2 m) alongside the southwest wall of the winepress was also coated with white plaster. The pit may have been used to receive the grapes delivered to the winepress, or as a fermentation cell for the must that naturally ran out of the grapes after placing them in it. The pit was located in a narrow corridor (L316; c. 2 m wide) that separated the winepress from a building to its south. All the elements of the winepress were buried under brown clayey soil mixed with a little sand containing late Hellenistic pottery.
The building to the west of the winepress (c. 161.5 sq m) evidently consisted of two units separated by walls (W332, W343, W373; total width 1.6 m). The northwest unit had six rooms (1–4, 6, 7) and a narrow corridor (5). Rooms 8 and 10 were in the southeast unit. Room 8 contained a small inner area (9). Only the foundations of the building’s walls were preserved (0.75–1.00 m width of outer walls, 0.55–0.80 m width of inner walls); they were constructed of variously sized kurkar fieldstones that carried mud-brick or cast-mud walls, but these were no longer preserved. The floors of the building’s rooms (e.g., L358, L366) were made of brown clayey soil packed with small stones, possibly indicating that the rooms were roofed, since otherwise the soil would have turned to mud on rainy days.
The pottery assemblage from the winepress and the building consisted of bowls and jars, a few cooking pots, a jug and an oil-lamp fragment. The pottery dates the final use of the winepress and the building to the end of the late Hellenistic or the beginning of the Early Roman period (latter half of the second century BCE and the first half of the first century BCE). The reasons for its abandonment are not known, but they may be associated with general political instability in the late second century BCE. A few Chalcolithic potsherds and flint artifacts (not drawn) found beneath the bedding of the Hellenistic floors may come from a large site discovered in trial trenches to the east and south of the excavation.
The winepress was well preserved. The building adjacent to it may have been used to store the wine jars and as the living quarters of the workers. The building and the winepress belong to one of the rural settlements that existed to the southeast of Tel Ashqelon during the Hellenistic period. The finds show that Ashqelon’s famous wine-production industry, which reached its zenith during the Byzantine period, was established at least as early as the Hellenistic period. The scant Byzantine remains found in the current excavation probably belong to the fringes of the Byzantine sites to the west: Kh. er-Rasam and the more distant Kh. Khisas.